Where it all started

About 6 months ago we were cleaning out an apartment after a tenant moved and on the kitchen counter were 2 very very small turtles in a very very small container.1st Home

Both turtles had been living in this tiny container with no water for days. They were hungry and dirty and really just plain sad!  So we adopted them!  I knew nothing about turtles so of course the first stop was Petsmart!  They gave me some food and told me I would need a much bigger container!  They also told me they were aquatic turtles. Red Eared Sliders.  So I headed home with the food and the name and set off to google what this was all about.

My first call was to my brother to see if he wanted them! He of course said no! He had just spent over $75 one a setup for hermit crabs for his daughter and she forgot to feed them and the died. He did offer me the tank! So I took it!  A 10 gallon tank with a heating pad. Sounded like all I would need. I so soooooo wrong!


Tank is just about done….I hope!

Well with some additional work I think the tank is just about done. I got some more acrylic to make a better barrier so they could not get out. I also got some plants and other turtle furniture for my birthday.  I also used my home depot birthday gift(thanks Leah!) to get some other parts for the filter, so now I think we are in good shape. This will always be an on going project but I think we have it mostly set up.


Final Tank

The plants and drift wood look good and they seem to like all of the stuff to play with. They do move things all around!  Donny has figured out the platform and loves it. I am not sure about Pricilla, but she seems to be hanging in there too.  This is Donny basking!

Donny on Platform

There are always issues with the tank. Now I have a new problem with algae on the side with the light.  Some people get algae eaters!  But I think I am at my limit for caring for living things, so I am going with chemical treatment.  We will see. Also when I change the water the base gets all wet and the paint does not like it, but I am sure there are many adjustments we will make over time. For now I think we are in good shape!

Newest Member of the Family

Well after much consternation, googling and phone calls to people asking about turtles, I decided to get Pricilla a friend. There is much debate in the world on whether turtles are solitary or not.  I have done a lot of kayaking with my mom and I always see turtles in groups.  Pricilla has been happier without Gus, so while I was sad about the loss of Gus she clearly was not.  A friend suggested that potentially she pushed him out of the tank.   It could be true.  I spent a lot of time worrying and looking for Gus. He seems to really be gone. I think he did make a run for the pond near my house. At least that i how I am going to think of him (lets hope we do not find him at some point later).

So I did look to see if I could adopt a turtle.  The issue with turtles like people is that they do not always get along. I of course could NOT setup a second tank if the new turtle and Pricilla did not get along. So I called a girl that was willing to give me a trial with her red-eared slider. Then I went to the store around the corner from me. Cyndi is the owner. She and I talked and she suggested that I get a different kind of turtle. She said in this case they often ignore each other. She had a male painted turtle. He was not shy at all, but not aggressive. He would come right over and say hi!  She said I could try him out for a couple of days and see how it went. So he came home with me yesterday afternoon.

Donatello in Log

I put him in the tank and he went right over to Pricilla to introduce himself.  At first she was a bit shocked, then she seemed curious. She followed him all around.  I could not tell if they were okay or not but decided to let it go for a while. He made himself right at home. He got on the platform and swam all around.  She just kept following him.  Then after a while they settled into the new jungle I created.

Pricilla and DonatelloPricilla in jungle


They both like to hid in there.  They have mostly been hanging out. For the most part where one goes the other seems to go.  Since I am trying to feed them on the platform feeding has not been to complicated yet. The new turtle did let me feed him by hand.  We will see how it goes today.

Based on his personality I have decided to call him Donatello.  I hope that they will be happy together. It makes me sad to think of Pricilla all alone forever in the tank….. So while I am sad also for the loss of Gus I do hope he is happy where ever he is!


Gus is gone….

Well it is a sad day.  Sometime yesterday Gus got out again.  I have no idea how, but he seems to be gone. We have looked everywhere for him. I am not sure if he is in the house or if Princess helped with the escape by taking him outside.  Anything is possible. This is why people have turtle cams in their house!  So poor Pricilla is all alone. So what to do?  Do I wait to see if Gus shows up? Do I get Pricilla a new friend? She did not like Gus very much he was very pushy, but not sure she wants to live out all the days of her life alone…..what to do???

Gus Escapes!

Well I was warned and it happened…This morning Gus launched himself from the side of the tank. I heard a big thud and he was out. We were both stunned so he didnot make a mad dash for the door. Also the dogs were stunned so we all just stood there.  I scooped him up and put him back in. So now how to secure them.  I think more acrylic would be best so I will order some today and see what I can do. In the mean time I have a screen over the top to prevent escape from part of it. Not sure how to secure the rest.

Also the feeding is not going well. The pump system is too strong so the floating food just goes right into the filter system. I need to get the turtles on the platform to feed them. So far they HATE the platform. They will not get up there.  I ordered some plants for them so it will not seem so open. i think there is too much light and space up there. They prefer to hide. The plants will be here later on this week.  Here is the current setup until we can provide a more secure turtle location!


Covered Top Covert Top


I have also added a LOT of food to the platform -maybe that will get them over there!

Food  Buffet

Gus and Pricilla Move In!

Well there is good news and bad news today. The good news was that this morning the tank was clear! The bad news was that the leak was back.  It was smaller but still there.  I have tried everything so I will have to take it all off and try again….next weekend. I decided to go ahead with the move in-spite of the leak.  Clearly this will be an on going project!

So I moved over all of their stuff.  I decorated the platform and everything!

New Platform

I moved over the light as well.  I did have to make some modifications to the filter. It was moving too slow. I took it apart which was much harder with the water flowing.  I will need to make some adjustments there as well. The light fixture also needs some work, but for phase 1 we are good to go.

So here is the final setup.

Final Setup

After this I put Gus and Pricilla in. At first they were totally freaked out!  After a while they settled down. I am actually a little worried they could get out!  We will see.  Not sure how they would fare with the dogs.

So far they want nothing to do with the basking platform.  I did give them a turtle chaser treat which they did enjoy.  Here are a couple of short videos of them in their new home.

The turtles have their own YouTube Channel!

In the home stretch!!!

So yesterday when I was getting ready for the setup for this weekend I moved the new turtle basking area and the ramp fell off!! Sheesh -can I get a break!  So back to home depot for more serious glue!  I did that this morning and it seems to be better!  I will let it sit over night to be sure. Would not want a turtle accident, there is no way we are going to the turtle emergency room!

After our road race this morning I can bake and took the plunge.  I filled her up and no more leaks!! Happy Dancing all over the room, me the dog and the turtles!  So I filled it up plugged in the heater and she is off and running!  The water is not clear. I have to get more clarifier.  I did put some of the coral in there I got from the guy I bought the tank from.  The water is now about 72 degrees too cold for Gus and Pricilla so I hope by later on tonight or in the morning it will be a bit warmer.

Here is the current basking platform and ramp setup:


Turtle Basking Platform


Here is the full loaded tank – full and not leaking but cloudy 😦


Full Cloudy Tank

I think we are in the home stretch!  I am off to petsmart to get some new furniture for the new turtle house!  Think of it as a house warming gift!

Putting it all together

So today was the big day!  I went to home depot yesterday to get the final supplies (hoping it would be the last trip -sadly that was not to be). This morning I got up early to being the project.

Step 1.  Put the platform together. Of course I thought this would be easy but it took 2 you tube videos and several attempts before it went-but it finally went together.

Basking platform

I have also added some tiles to keep it cool. I will show the final basking platform in the next post. Was also able to make a ramp and got to use a blow torch! That was not as much fun as I had hoped.

Step 2.  Assemble the filter part.  I used a set of stacking drawers from the container store.  They needed to be drilled and cut to fit.  All of the filter media was installed and the drawers were set up. This took another trip to home depot to get something to raise it up.

Filter parts


Here is what it looked like set up in the sump pump.

Filter setup


We then glued the pipes together and started filling! It was so exciting!  We will filled and filled and filled!


Filling it up

And then when it got to the top…. it LEAKED!  Uggh. So I pulled out some of the water and am now trying to seal it. The seal takes at least 24 hours to hold so the turtles cannot move in this weekend. So now I have to clean the old tank for them to give them a few more days….